SVP Public Relations, Talbots
Having spent most of her childhood playing with lipsticks and trying on her mother’s clothing while reading Seventeen Magazine, Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue, Meredith Paley always knew she was destined for a career in the beauty or fashion industry. After graduating from Carnegie Mellon University with a degree in Creative Writing, Meredith worked at Financial News Network (which is now CNBC) as well as MTV/VH-1 until finally landing a job at Abrams Artist Talent Agency where she was paid a mere $15,000 a year to work 12 hour days booking models and actors on commercials. When her best friend from college called about a public relations opportunity at a boutique agency, she jumped at the chance. For the next 3 years, Meredith worked at Atelier Creative Services which was her foray into the field she was eagerly trying to “break-into.” As Account Director, she helped launch SmashBox Cosmetics, Urban Decay Nail Polishes and Joop! Jeans to name a few. Meredith was then hired by designer, Nicole Miller, to be the Vice President of Public Relations & Advertising where she built and ran the public relations department. The highlights of her job involved dressing celebrities, coordinating fashion shows, working closely with fashion editors and overseeing Nicole’s personal appearances at her boutiques as well as department stores. After 4 years of incredible opportunities, Meredith joined Kenneth Cole as the Vice President of Public Relations. Throughout her 8 years at Kenneth Cole, she coordinated Kenneth Cole’s spring fashion show in the middle of Rockefeller Center which also aired live on The Today Show, secured two interviews for Kenneth with Katie Couric/The Today Show, launched a fragrance with Kenneth & Jon Bon Jovi, spearheaded Kenneth’s international “We All Have Aids” Public Service Announcement with celebrities including Will Smith, Tom Hanks, Julianne Moore, Sharon Stone, Elton John, Elizabeth Taylor and Alicia Keys. Fashion shows, store events, celebrity outreach, Kenneth Cole’s personal press, philanthropic partnerships, product launches, and handling crisis communication for Kenneth Cole’s “controversial” ad campaigns were just a few of the incredible opportunities during the 8 years of overseeing the public relations department. While Meredith had no intention of ever leaving her beloved job at Kenneth Cole, when Talbots called she decided to at least hear about the job opportunity. “Talbots? You mean like the clothing my grandmother would wear?” was really the question in the back of her mind. But the intrigue, excitement and of course, the challenge of turning a brand around and breathing renewed life into a company with an “old lady” stigma quickly sold her on the job. August 2023 will mark 15 years that Meredith has been at Talbots. In April of 2023 she was promoted to Senior Vice President of Public Relations for Talbots, Ann Taylor and LOFT. (All three brands are owned by Sycamore Partners, a private equity firm). Magazine editorial and seasonal editor presentations, influencer and charitable partnerships, celebrity dressing, nationwide store events, outfitting Michelle Obama in Talbots 28 times (but who is counting?) and being invited by the former First Lady to The White House with the CEO of Talbots are just a few highlights and endeavors. An 8 year philanthropic partnership with O, The Oprah Magazine that has raised over $7 million for Dress for Success (and meeting Oprah 5 times!) was one of her most career defining and memorable moments. While Meredith is juggling a full-time job and two daughters, she also makes it a point to see as much theater as possible. She sings show tunes to herself while on her daily Central Park runs and believes that her real claim to fame is that to date, she has seen A Chorus Line 15 times.